The foreign ministers of the countries belonging OIC member countries adopted a strongly worded statement aimed against denigrating Islam, its revered personalities and symbols on Saturday.
The statement was proposed jointly by Pakistan and Turkey. The ministers met on the margins of the 73rd UNGA Session in New York.
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, in his statement, expressed deep concern over the misrepresentation of Islam as well as at activities which have hurt the feelings of Muslims all over the world – activities that had shown disrespect to the most revered personality of Islam.
In the joint statement which was adopted by the ministerial meeting, serious concerns were expressed on intensification of hate campaigns which were deliberately targeting Muslims and the Islamic religious symbols. The joint statement rejected provocative acts like the holding of the competition and contest to ridicule Islam and aimed at inciting violence.
Ever since a blasphemous caricatures competition was announced in the Netherlands, Pakistan raised the matter at the diplomatic level with the United Nations, OIC, and European Union and sensitised world leaders over the sensitive matter.
Foreign Minister wrote to OIC secretary general, UN secretary general, the Dutch foreign minister and foreign ministers of Muslim countries to jointly act against Islamophobic acts. Pakistan also requested the convening of an Emergency Session of the OIC Executive Committee to seize of the situation arising from acts derogating Islam.
Prime Minster Imran Khan on assuming office in the first meeting of the cabinet expressed serious concern. The cabinet adopted a resolution condemning the campaign of derogating Islam. Both houses of the parliament also adopted resolutions, calling for halting such activities. Prime Minister Khan had assured the parliament that matter will be raised during the OIC ministerial meeting in New York.
Foreign Minister Qureshi, in his bilateral meeting with his Dutch counterpart, expressed concern on the alarming rise in defamatory activities which were hurting the sensibilities of the Muslims. The foreign minister affirmed that freedom of expression comes with concomitant responsibilities, and should be exercised keeping in view the ethical, moral and legal obligations.
The OIC joint statement refers to important resolutions adopted by the OIC, Human Rights Council and the UNGA condemning attacking Islam, combating intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatisation and discrimination, incitement to violence against persons based on religion and belief.
In particular, the Joint Statement refers to various steps proposed by the OIC to foster an environment of peace, religious tolerance and respect and measures to be taken by the states in their domestic sphere.
Joint Statement is a reflection of the government’s commitment to play its role in garnering support through joint action of OIC and building solidarity and unity among Muslim countries and to stand united for common cause of upholding the values of Islam and engaging with other countries to promote culture of peace and tolerance.